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Murder investigations

I have found a record of the murders that clearly identify the deaths to be Maria Terwilliger Hofman Deyo, wife of Josiah Deyo. Here in another document found at the Library of Congress. While the document states the 6th and the records of death state the 13th, this is clearly the same event.
(I must say I love the image at the top of this piece that shows the 4 different sized coffins).


A Narrative of one of the most Shocking and Logical Catastrophes, that ever blackened the Catalogue of human events, which happened the 6th September, 1801, at a place called Paliz 14 miles from Poughkeepsie, State of New-York.

THE wife of Mr. Josiah Deo a woman of exemplary character as to piety, modesty and sensibility, rose in the morning and went about the ordinary business of her family, getting breakfast, &c with all her apparent cheerfulness and composure. After breakfast, she con??ved to send out all her family, excepting three Children, which she had designed for destruction, viz. a boy about nine years old, a girl about seven, (both of whom were children by a former husband by the name of Huffman) an infant daughter about nine months old, which she have had since her last marriage.--Her husband she had persuaded to go a cornfield at some distance, to feel it there were not creatures in doing mischief; a daughter of Mr. Deo, by a former wife, a young woman, she sent home with two children who had slept at her house the night previous and who belonged to Mr. Deo's sister, living in the neighborhood. {Omitted text, 1w} lad, also a son of Mr. Deo, by his Grit wife she told to go to a harter's, about a quarter of a mile distant to get a hat and to take with him a child, between two and three years old, which, with the infant above mentioned, were the only two she have had by Mr. Deo. Having thus arranged the family, she told the boy, one of the victims of her delusion, that he might go with some boys who were at play near by, while she combed his sister's head, but not to go out of call, as she would comb his head also in a few moments. She then took the girl into a back room which she had darkened for the purpose, by letting down the window curtains, and with a razor cut her throat from ear to The boy whom she had told to go to the hatter's, in the mean time instead of going has seated himself on the door steps, with the child, to wait as he says, for his brother's head to be combed, that he might go along with him; he heard the little girl cry out directly "don't mamma," and the mother rather sternly reply'd, "hold your tongue."--the saint struggles ensued, but not enough to alarm him--The mother then came to the door and called the boy from play, and as soon as he entered, took him to the back room and performed the same operation as upon the girl tho' not quite so effectually--the boy at the door heard enough of this transaction, together with the rec?? {Omitted text, 1w} of having seen his mother take a razor from behind a looking-glass and place it under an oil cloth upon a table, to frighten him, and he ran down a lane from the house with the child--He had not ?an far before he heard a nose behind him, and looking round discovered his brother, (who in his struggles had got away from his mother) with the blood spinning from his throat; he passed him a little and then fell down dead. Another ({Omitted text, 1w} ) daughter of Mr. Deo, who had also been absent on this {Omitted text, 1w} happened, with her husband, to arrive at this moment upon the spot--the husband took up the boy, and perceive he was dead and covered with blood, but did not discover that his throat was cut, till after hastening to the house, where he was witness to the most shocking spectacle--the mother, her little daughter and child, besides the boy, all with their throats cut and weltering in their blood.

What could have been the occasion of this melancholy event is totally unaccountable, unless it proceeded from a mistaken religious fanaticism--it is however evident from a number of circumstances, that the act was coolly premeditated: The daughter who was sent away with the two children, on the Saturday proceeding, expressed a wish to be absent at a neighbour's, for two or three days, observing that she had but little to do at home. The mother reply'd, "You will have enough to do on Monday." The daughter said she did not know any thing particular. The mother again replied, that it was no matter--she might depend on having enough to do--It is supposed she alluded to the burying of the dead. Another circumstance more striking, occurred after closing the melancholy scene. The neighbours on examining a chest for linen to lay out the deceased, found in it articles exactly necessary for the purpose parceled out for each individual, and each parcel laid out by it self. Mrs. Deo, was devoutly religious, practising prayer every night in her family; yet naturally {Omitted text, 1w} and placid--apparently happy and contented in her family--was highly esteemed in the neighbourhood, and had never discovered the learned {Omitted text, 1w} of insanity. She was a member of the congregational church ?nd had {Omitted text, 1w} ?artaker the sacrament but week or fort night before.


WHAT dreadfulhavock sin has made
Among the human race!
Alas, how oft are we betray,
When we its bitter taste!

Come see its dismal, sad effects
Among poor mortal clay;
And learn to hate its vile defects
And not be led astray.

"Tho' some profess God's ho? {Omitted text, 1w}
Indulge their souls in sin,
Yet He should never bear the blame,
His Laws are pure and clean."

Now while around we take a view,
What dreadful scenes appear!
Suicides--and Murders too
We very frequent hear.*

The cruel one we have in view
Surpasses all the rest;
Such horrid deed--to painful true.
Would wound the feeling breast.

Behold a cruel mother's all:§
Her tender offspring fly;
Three lover babes a victim fall!
In blood a welt'ring lay--

Thus bre?? through the ??d'rest ties;
This {Omitted text, 1w} after with in
To stay {Omitted text, 1w} babes, altho' {Omitted text, 1w} cry,
Her ???rt did not rele?.

Deluded wretch! by Satan led,
Such things as these to do;
Thyself to number with he dead,
To add thy greater woe.

Beware the tempter's artful bait,
Which he displays to you;
A deadly hook within it wait--
'Twill lead to ruin too!

When faith has fill'd the virtuous mind
Of sacred stores possess'd;
Satan, nor none his base designs,
Will harbour in the breast.

You, who that boast in your own strength
Take heed, or else you'll fall;
Rely on GOD Omnipotent;
{Omitted text, 1w} hear you when you call.

Then shall no guilty impious deed,
Your peaceful mind destroy,
But He will guide you, and will lead
To endless scenes of joy!

{Begin handwritten}19{End handwritten}

[Price 4 cents.]

* What a remarkable number of melancholy events have taken place in this country, within the space of a few months! How many have been registered among the dead, by Suicides, Murders and by Duels. Alas, what deprav'd creatures we are!

§ She very deliberately call'd a chill to have its hair comb'd and then cut its throat.


  1. This is a tragic story and one that was colorfully told via this broadsheet. This occurred about a mile up the road from your house.

  2. Yes. We came to the same conclusion. There simply was no way to link Josiah to the house and in the 1790 MAP our house is clearly D. DEYO.

    The only source pointing to our house is the spooky Hudson valley book. (Which includes photo of our house) but the author admits her stories are only as they were told to her.

    We are coming into Huguenot street today at 3.30pm to see the broadsheet. As you say it is a good tale

  3. We can't trust a book. That's shamefull.
    I'm so sorry for being at your house.
    But now I want to know. Oh well! We all want to know.
    Which is THE house.

  4. Julia it was a real pleasure to have you and your family and your delightful sister at our house. You brought us the story and the book which we knew nothing about. It is the same family and in those days who knows where what happened. Records vary on the date. This document says 6th. The elegy says 13th. 210 years ago they were less concerned with time or place.


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